7 days ago, I did not yell at my children.
I didn’t know that was significant until after it was over.
7 days ago marked a serious upset in our daily lives. The kids learned an upsetting lesson in the laws of nature regarding predators and prey. Apparently, if you put an adorable, sweet dwarf hamster in a cage, name it, coo over, pamper it with treats, and call it a pet, your sweet fuzzy cat (whom you’ve also cood over, pampered and petted) will still look at it and think, “dinner.” We returned home from the library to find an upside-down, empty cage with the door flung open. A frantic search uncovered the worst – his tiny lifeless body, the victim of domestic violence. None of the prime suspects (2 fats cats and 2 moron dogs) are talking.
I spent the rest of the day cleaning messes and comforting sad children. At the end of this emotionally draining day full of hugs and tears, my youngest tried to search for the silver lining behind the cloud.
“Well, at least no one yelled at us today,” he sniffed.
This single comment struck me harder than anything else that happened that day. Apparently, not getting yelled at was unusual enough to be noted and celebrated. Wow. I honestly didn’t think I yelled at my kids that much. I guess when the moment comes, I yell and move on, but he remembers. It sticks with him. I don’t like that about myself.
So for the past week, I’ve made a serious effort to control my voice. My house rule for the children has always been, “We speak quietly and respectfully to one another” (http://www.fortifyingthefamily.com/21_rules.htm), and I’m renewing my effort to follow this rule myself. My son should go to bed almost every night knowing that no one yelled at him that day.